Anthony Saluto, 32, was killed by a motorist while riding his bike Sunday evening near Independence and Lydia. While friends and family mourn the death of a very popular and energetic man, the cycling community is frustrated over a tragedy they say could have been preventable.
"Motorists really need to understand. And cyclists as well, that we have to be on the same page," said John Townsend of Cycling Kansas City.
Townsend was nearly killed in 2009 after being hit by a motorist. He was in a coma for three days. Now, he's leading an effort to make it mandatory for all drivers to know the lawful rights of cyclists.
"Make it part of the curriculum to getting your drivers license. In other states they have that," he said.
Townsend also knew Saluto very well, even spending family holidays together. Even though he hasn't seen the full report yet, given the experienced cyclist Saluto was and that the law says cyclists have a right to the full lane, he's confident Saluto did nothing wrong.
Co-workers and friends from Opera House say Saluto was likely riding his bike home from work, eager to watch the Royals game. According to police, he was riding westbound when an on-coming Lexus from the east crashed into him just before 6 p.m. The accident was initially a hit-and-run before police located the vehicle about a block away.
Mitchell Krasnopoler lost his 20-year-old son five years ago after a motorist hit him on his bike. Now a cycling safety advocate and avid cyclist himself, Krasnopoler says the first thing that needs to be done is to add more infrastructure.
"More bike lanes, bike paths - safer streets," he said.
41 Action News spoke with the Mid-America Regional Council last fall about the topic.
Aaron Bartlett, senior transportation planner with MARC, explained in an interview that Overland Park and Leawood have already made great leaps toward being more bicycle friendly, but other areas of the metro federally funded projects "in the works" as well.
Cycling Kansas City will hold their annual 'Ride Of Silence' on May 18 to commemorate cyclists who have been lost to tragedy. The ride begins at 6:44 from Brookside and 63rd and is a "show and go," so no registration is required. Saluto is one of the many who will be honored.
What does the law say?
In Kansas: A cyclist must have a front light visible from 500 feet and a back red light or reflector.
In Missouri: A cyclist must have a front light visible from 500 feet and a rear red reflector that is two inches squared or a red light visible from 600 feet. There must also be reflectors on any visible moving parts such as tires and reflective material or lights on each side of the bicycle or bicyclists.
Kansas law also states motorists must allow three feet between car and bike. In Missouri, motorists must pass prudently without harassment.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.